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First Look: SyncMate, Mac/Smartphone Synchronization

updated 03:40 pm EDT, Tue October 7, 2008


So many people store crucial names, addresses, phone numbers, and documents on mobile devices such as smart phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs). Storing this information on a mobile device is easy, but the hard part comes in synchronizing this data with your Macintosh. Sharing and synchronizing contact information with a Macintosh may be easy using an iPhone and the process isn't too much more difficult when using a Palm device. However, the real problem comes when you use a Mac as your main computer, but use a Windows Mobile device as your mobile device. Since the Mac won't recognize a Windows Mobile device, you need an additional program to link these two devices together. One such solution is SyncMate.

The idea behind the free version of this program is to link your Address Book and iCal data with your Windows Mobile device. A commercial version of the program synchronizes your Address Book and iCal data along with your web browser bookmarks, text messages, iPhoto pictures, and iTunes music. Synchronizing is as easy as loading the program on your Mac, plugging your mobile device into your Mac with a USB cable, and defining what data you want to synchronize. For more convenience, you can even sync your devices through a Wi-Fi connection so you can forget about USB cables altogether.

Besides letting you share data, this app also lets you view the storage space as a chart on your mobile device. At a glance, you can see how much space you have remaining and which types of data you've chosen to synchronize.

More importantly, this program can transfer your e-mail messages from Outlook on your Windows Mobile device to the Mail program on your Mac. Clicking different check boxes lets you choose which messages to transfer, such as only those from your Inbox folder or all messages stored in every folder of your e-mail account.

Since many people receive important data through text messages, you might want to transfer these messages off your Windows Mobile device and store them on your Mac. Now you'll always have a crucial copy of any important text messages that you can read and print at any time. Using the SMS manager plugin, you can even create messages using your full-size keyboard, edit them on the Mac, send and receive them without touching your Windows Mobile device.

If you regularly browse the Internet, you'll likely have dozens of your favorite bookmarks stored on your Mac. Rather than try to duplicate those bookmarks on your Windows Mobile device, just transfer them over and start visiting your favorite websites on both your Mac and mobile device. If you regularly view videos on your Mac, you can use the app's built-in video converter to store and compress video files to MPEG4 format.

SyncMate comes in two versions, a free version and an Expert version that synchronizes more data such as digital photographs, music, and bookmarks. Download the free edition and see for yourself if the program correctly synchronizes your Mac with your Windows Mobile device. Then when you're ready, upgrade to the Expert Edition for $39.95.

If you're using a Mac and a Windows Mobile device, you need SyncMate to keep your data synchronized. You could dump your Mac and switch to Windows (but how many people really want to do that?), or dump your Windows Mobile device and switch to a more Mac-compatible smartphone. If neither one of these options sounds appealing, do the next best thing and just rely on SyncMate to make your Mac work with your Windows Mobile device almost as if they were truly meant to work together.

by MacNN Staff



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